S.C. Department of Education releases assessment results
Recent assessment results from the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDOE) for the South Carolina College-and Career-Ready Assessments (SC READY) and the South Carolina Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (SCPASS) revealed that Berkeley County Schools appear to be on par with other districts in the Palmetto State.
But as with all standardized testing, outliers were evident.
SC READY assesses all students grades three through eight in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics, while SCPASS assesses grades four through eight in social studies and science.
According to an SCDOE press release, although the state has successfully raised the bar for what they expect from all students, there is work to be done to provide students with the proper materials, so that they may realize their full learning capability.
“South Carolina has done a tremendous job in raising the level of rigor and expectations for all of our students through our homegrown college and career-ready standards and assessments,” stated State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman.
The scores were expressed in percentages on a scale that included “Does not meet expectations,” “Approaches Expectations,” “Meets Expectations,” “Exceeds Expectations,” “Meets or Exceeds expectations” and “Approaches, Meets or Exceeds expectations.”
For the purposes of this article, the results below reflect an average percentage score among the total number of students in participating grade levels who met or exceeded expectations or did not exceed expectations at each school. Percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole number.
CAINHOY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (CES)
In ELA, out of the 80 students at CES who took part in the assessments, 14 percent met or exceeded expectations, while 53 percent did not.
When tested in mathematics, 19 percent met or exceeded expectations, while 48 percent did not.
In science, of the 52 fourth and fifth graders tested, 18 percent met or exceeded expectations, while 47 percent did not.
Lastly, when fourth and fifth grade students at CES were assessed in social studies, 55 percent met or exceeded expectations, while 45 percent did not.
While some of these percentages may seem troubling to parents, Principal Aidra Shaw ensures that students are much more than standardized assessment scores.
“We all in education have our feelings about standardized testing,” said Shaw. “We understand why it is used, but in education what you have to learn is that that is one data point, but that does not encompass everything that you do for the child…If I looked at just the numbers, I don’t feel I would be doing my job justice.”
Looking forward, Shaw explained that their focus will be on strengthening the school’s arts infusion.
“We are going full force with really trying to be an arts-infused school within the whole STEAM initiative,” she said. “We think that’s going to be the best thing for our students. I don’t think kids think school is fun anymore. We want to try and make it an enjoyable experience.”
PHILIP SIMMONS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (PSES)
Of the 114 total students at PSES tested, 57 percent met or exceeded expectations in ELA, while 18 percent did not.
When tested in mathematics, 58 percent met or exceeded expectations, while 20 percent did not.
Science was the weakest subject, which is in line with the state, with 58 percent of the 55 fourth graders tested at PSES meeting or exceeding expectations, while 16 percent did not; and 87 percent met or exceeded expectations in social studies, while 13 percent did not.
Principal Karen Whitley explained that the school is in line to meet their performance goals for the 2017-2018 school year.
“When it came to percentile rankings in ELA and math, lexiles and quantiles, PSE out-performed the state and district average,” said Whitley. “…We are confident that our rigorous curriculum and focus on meaningful learning experiences will translate into high achievement.”
DANIEL ISLAND SCHOOL (DIS)
Out of the BCSD elementary and middle schools in the Daniel Island/Cainhoy area, Daniel Island School’s 759 students performed the best across the board. In fact, according to Schooldigger.com, it is the top school in the county based solely on its test scores and also the second top school in the state.
Of the students evaluated, 82 percent exceeded or met expectations in ELA, while 14 percent did not.
In mathematics, 76 percent of students exceeded or met expectations, while 6 percent did not.
Of the 631 students tested in science, 86 percent met or exceeded expectations, while 4 percent did not.
In social studies, 97 percent met or exceeded expectations, while 3 percent did not.
Principal Kori Brown was pleased with the assessment scores for DIS, although she explained that she was not surprised.
“We are consistently a high achieving school,” said Brown. “We are fortunate to possess many of the factors attributed to effective schools. At Daniel Island School, our entire staff is committed to providing a positive and safe environment for our students. Our teachers have high expectations for students and frequently monitor student progress.”
PHILIP SIMMONS MIDDLE SCHOOL (PSMS)
In ELA, of the 250 students tested at PSMS, 50 percent met or exceeded expectations, while 19 percent did not.
When assessed in mathematics, 38 percent met or exceeded expectations, while 27 percent did not.
Out of 251 total students tested in science, 53 percent met or exceeded expectations, while 26 percent did not; and finally, in social studies, 68 percent met or exceeded expectations, while 32 percent did not.
Like Brown, PSMS’s scores did not shock Principal Anthony Dixon.
“We prepare ourselves throughout the year through formative assessment practices, reviewing benchmarks and analyzing other forms of data,” said Dixon. “During the school year we make sure to follow our students in order to make informed instructional decisions.”
In the coming year, Dixon explained, teachers will be undergoing instructional practice, specifically in mathematics, to hopefully discover new successful strategies to utilize in the classroom.
Additionally, students are utilizing a mathematics-based computer program to aid in strengthening their skills.
“As a school, all students are utilizing an Imagine Learning Mathematics program to provide personalized computer based instruction,” said Dixon. “This will not replace the work of a strong teacher in the classroom, but support what students are learning.”
Complete state, school district and school level data for the SCPASS and SCREADY assessments can be accessed by visiting https://ed.sc.gov/data/ test-scores/.